Pirates Cut Saudi Tanker Ransom to $15M

Discount from $25M after biggest maritime hijacking in history
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Nov 24, 2008 8:32 AM CST
This undated picture made at an unknown location shows the the MV Sirius Star, a Saudi oil supertanker which has been hijacked by Somali pirates.    (AP Photo/Christian Duys)
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(Newser) – After the biggest hijacking in maritime history, Somali pirates have cut their ransom demand for a Saudi supertanker from $25 million to $15 million, Reuters reports. The Sirius Star, carrying $100 million in oil and 25 international crew members, was nabbed southeast of Kenya and has been moved to 62 miles off central Somalia after an Islamist militia declared its intention to confront the pirates.

“Middlemen have given a $15 million ransom figure for the Saudi ship. That is the issue now,” said an Islamist official. He noted that his goal is to rescue the “Muslim” ship, though residents say the militia is looking to cash in on the ransom. Some 17 foreign ships carrying 250 crew members are thought to remain in pirates’ hands off the Horn of Africa, the Guardian notes.